In the corporate environment of today people are being taught Conflict resolution and Diversity. The business environment demands that people resolve conflicts in a productive and synergistic manner. Corporations are desperately working to make diversity a strength. Professional counselors are being trained to smooth relations.
How are Muslims in general approaching diversity? How do we resolve conflicts among relatives, friends, community members, businesses and nations?
There are rich Islamic traditions established to deal with such matters but overall we may find that we are failing in approaching the issue of conflict resolution and synergy.
If we are a community that shares certain foundational beliefs, what then is our role in the society we face today? The Quran and the example of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are rich with examples to promote peace and harmony for all of humanity.
3 (Family of Imran):103 --- Hold fast together to the cable of Allah and be not divided.
The cable of God is the way of life that He has provided for us. By holding fast to this cable it connects us directly to God and since other believers are holding on to this cable it also connects us to everyone holding this cable. This verse establishes the ground rules for any relationship and disapproves of disunity.
The Quran makes a resounding case for a global society of peace and justice.
49 (The Dwellings):13 O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).
In our personal lives a potent virus that creates enmity among people is Backbiting. At one time a person asked the Prophet what is backbiting? The Prophet said 'It is to mention something about a man that he would find displeasing.' The man asked 'What if, what ever is said about the man is true?' The Prophet replied 'If you utter something false, then it is slander.' It is easy to fall into the backbiting trap and requires self-discipline and restraint of lose talk.
Backbiting is strongly dissuaded in the Quran...
49 (The Dwellings): 12 O you who have believed, avoid suspicion as much (As Possible): for suspicion In some cases is a sin: And spy not on each other, nor should any of you backbite (speak ill) of each other...
Synergy (fellowship, association, sharing, agreement) requires forgiveness and sensitiveness to the feeling of others. It is natural to have disputes but it is not natural to develop extended or permanent animosity among our selves. Intelligence and wisdom demands that we find solutions to our problems and not just turn our backs and give up or draw the lines.
With the proper willingness and intentions we can solve our disputes and disagreements. We all need to be aware that people come from different stages of life with different backgrounds and different expectations. These differences go beyond the visible gender, nationality, ethnicity, and age. It includes the varied work experiences and life experiences of people with diverse backgrounds. To cultivate harmony in our personal and professional lives we need to develop a high level of tolerance and a compromising and flexible outlook towards an individual's opinion.
This requires an appreciation of the potential of diversity and involves changing our individual and collective behavior to become aware of, and draw upon, the perspectives and talents of people around us with diverse backgrounds. We need to value differences with-in the Islamic framework. When individuals of every background are valued and given the opportunity to contribute fully towards goals and objectives the result is increased effectiveness and an improved positive impact in everything we do.
59 (The Gathering):10. "Our Lord! Forgive us, and our brethren who came before us into the Faith, and put not in our hearts any hatred against those who have believed. Our Lord! Thou art indeed Full of Kindness, Most Merciful.
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